Cameroon -Degasing of Lakes Nyos : Gov’t to take over monitoring

Lake Nyos

After years of scientific monitoring of volcanic activities under the lakes, Japanese experts are handing over to their Cameroonian counterparts.

After spending over FCFA 1,380 billion since 2011 in monitoring volcanic activities in Lakes Monoun in Noun Division of the West Region and Nyos in Menchum Division of North West Region, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency, JICA, will as from next April hand over to Cameroonian scientists. In effect, monitoring of the two lakes dates back to 1986 after the Lake Nyos Gas Disaster.

Briefing the media in Yaounde yesterday, February 2, 2016, in preparation for a press trip to Lake Nyos, Prof. Minoru Kusakabe of Toyama University, Japan, said nine Cameroonian scientists from the Institute of Mining and Geological Research, IRGM, have received training in Japan up to PhD level to continue with the project. Similarly, the Cameroonian government will henceforth source for funding for the project; instead of JICA providing the funds as has been the case in the past.

Other outcomes of 30 years of monitoring the two volcanic lakes include transfer of knowledge and techniques for lake monitoring, passing on of knowledge and understanding of automatic monitoring systems, hydrological and microbiological assessment of ground water and the organisation of several workshops.

As a measure to ensure proper take-over of the “Magmatic Fluid Supply Into Lakes Nyos and Monoun and Mitigation of Natural Disasters Through Capacity-building,” or SATREPS NyMo Project, an international conference on volcanic lakes will be organised in Yaounde next month. According to Prof. Kusakabe, the objective is to evaluate 30 years of monitoring volcanic activities in the two lakes. At least 40 to 50 international experts are expected at the conference.

It will be recalled that the August 21, 1986 Gas Disaster in Lake Nyos killed 1,746 people, displaced 3,500 others and destroyed over 8,000 livestock. Earlier on August 15, 1984 at Lake Monoun, a similar disaster caused the death of 37 people. Contrary to rumours that were peddled at the time, the sudden release of gas from the lakes was caused by the gradual accumulation of magmatic CO2 in deep waters. Scientists though acknowledge that both disasters were rare natural phenomena as nothing like that had happened before.

Source :Cameroon Tribune

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